Kruti Shah is currently a full-time occupational therapy student and part-time blogger. She was born and raised in Orange County, California. Her passion for health and wellness began in high school during her struggles with an eating disorder. She started blogging a few years ago to not only share her love for cooking, but also to share her journey from disordered eating to balanced living. She enjoys developing plant-based recipes, going to yoga, and spending quality time with friends and family!
Here are takeaways from our conversation:
EATING DISORDER TO HEALING
Kruti developed an eating disorder in high school and struggled with it throughout college. Kruti describes it as something that really controlled her and impacted all her occupations. She said it really disconnected her with herself because it dictated her day to day living. That didn’t give her the opportunity to find what she was truly passionate because she had no room for that. She began to learn how to take care of herself and got into yoga, meditation, and healthy eating. She knew she couldn’t fix just the eating part of her eating disorder, and that there are so many facets when it comes to healing. Kruti began diving deep into treating herself as a whole person, which led her to become interested in a career where you treat people holistically- cue occupational therapy.
When Kruti was recovering from her eating disorder, she researched blogs and found inspiring bloggers that used real food as a means to heal oneself. She needed to rekindle her relationship with food and nourish her body. Yoga and meditation is embedded in Kruti’s Indian culture; however, she recalls that her parents disconnected from Indian culture in order to help Kruti and her siblings transition into American culture. Kruti was introduced to meditation from her brother in 20’s through using the Headspace app and started to meditate daily. Currently, Kruti incorporates breathing practices in her daily routine to help ground her.
Kruti has many things in her toolbox that contribute to her self-care: yoga, spin class, adult coloring books, Netflix, walking in nature, meditation, playing with her dogs. Self-care can be found in the smallest of moments and doesn’t have to be the traditional self-care that you may think of. As a first year occupational therapy student, Kruti buried herself in studying and began to feel fried. She set alarms on her phone to check-in with herself on busy days and scheduled dates with other people (i.e., working out, grabbing food) to make sure she took care of herself despite the huge workload she had with studying.
Kruti moved across the country to start occupational therapy school and experienced enormous stress from moving. She began seeing a therapist in addition to having her self-care toolbox and honored what she needed in the moment. She also deliberately took a day off from studying every now and then, which is important to her overall self-care routine.
MENTAL HEALTH IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
As occupational therapists, we all have a place in mental health. Kruti is passionate about pulling forward the mental health practice of occupational therapy she learns in school into real life practice once she graduates. As occupational therapists, we have a role that is distinct from other healthcare professionals. We incorporate the use of occupations to help clients with mental health conditions and to help build up confidence and self-esteem. Kruti recalls back to an activity she conducted during an outing in a mental health facility and saw how the energy shifted after the completion of the activity. We forget as occupational therapists sometimes how we can play such a strong role in the mental health field.
STARTING A BRAND
Kruti was afraid to start her brand at first and to put herself out there in 2015. Nevertheless, she went for it and started posting healthy recipes. She recognizes that her healing process is ongoing, and she uses her social platforms and blog to inspire people to heal and create a positive relationship with themselves and make healthier choices in life. Sharing your vulnerability and your story is a sign of strength, not weakness.
We all have something different to offer. Kruti’s advice for building a brand online? Don’t be afraid, be consistent, and engage with others.
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